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s/o - Can a child catch-up from inadequate homeschooling? (and how?)


alisoncooks
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Some of the recent threads have me wondering what would happen to children who had not been given adequate education in the elementary years (let's say up to grade 5 or 6).

 

This is a 2-part discussion.

 

Part 1:

Can these children even "catch-up" to their peers (either by being enrolled in public school or a turnaround in the homeschool environment)?  How long does such a "catch-up" take?  Or will they always be behind?  Do these children go on to college successfully?

 

 

Part 2:

If you were given the task to catch a child up (say a 5th grader), how would you go about it?  To make this easier, let's say the child can read but not strongly.  Some math exposure but behind grade level.  What would you teach/add to feel this child can work competitively alongside same-aged peers (who had not been educationally neglected).  

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Personally, I think this would depend a lot on what the kid has been doing up until 5th grade.  

 

Are we talking about a malnourished orphan who has been living Lord of the Flies in a white-washed concrete asylum for a decade?  I think it is very unlikely they would be able to catch up to their peers academically in the foreseeable future even if they were plopped into the ideal educational setting.

 

OTOH, are we talking about a healthy, happy child who was not "educated" (whatever that means exactly), but has lived an enriched life?  Discussions at the grocery store, exposure to cooking and car maintenance, a few books on the shelf, ample opportunities to be out in the world, be it urban, suburban or rural.  Then, sure.  Spend a couple months shoring up their reading with direct phonics instruction and then let them loose at the library and insist on a hour or two of free reading a day.  Fly through a get-r-done arithmetic text and have them ready for algebra in 7th or 8th grade.  Spend the logic stage going through the "normal" classical writing sequence (copywork, narration, sentence writing, paragraphs, outlining, etc) so they are ready for rhetoric level writing on schedule.  I think, with most kids, you would end up with an adequately educated, college-capable young person. 

 

Wendy

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I do think a child could catch up, but it would be a lot of work on their part, and their community.  Math instruction would have to start back at the beginning to fill gaps - and I do mean beginning: looking to see if the child can see groups of objects and know how much is there, number bonds to 20, etc.  Reading would have to focus on comprehension and getting the child to be able to summarize, find main idea, and work with breaking down vocabulary.  I'd get material that progressed in lessons, not grade level books, so that 1. there is no stigma and 2. we could move as fast or as slow as needed through parts.

 

Content subjects (science & history) are easily caught up with strong math and reading skills.

 

The problem is, a lot of the time the children just don't get the help they need.  Around here, comments of dropping math for 8yos because "she wants to be a midwife so won't need it" and able minded high schoolers working from 4th grade texts is normal.  The parents feel that when they want to learn, they will.  Fine, but a child who wants to learn and isn't given a support system (or has one that enables poor education) because the parents don't want to put the time and effort in...that child will fail.  It's one thing to swim slowly and catch up, it's another to swim against the stream.  And then have the cycle continue for the next generation, because they are scared or overwhelmed by higher math and high school texts and can't help their homeschooled children (and outsourcing is too expensive), who will then probably end up in the same boat with their kids..

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I've known children who have grown up in homes where their education was very, very lacking, but they did have opportunities to challenge their brains in other ways while growing up.  I've seen them catch up academically after they were out of high school and  navigating life on their own.  Also, these were children who had enough food on the table and at least one adult who loved them and cheered for them.

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Well, Finland is famous for not having children begin reading and other formal education till age 7 or so. Even then, school days are short and no homework is assigned. Yet Finnish students consistently score at top in international tests.

 

Another example. I read something recently about kids who do academics in preschool vs kids who start in 1st grade. The kids who started early experienced some burnout in late 2nd grade. By 3rd grade, the kids who started later surpassed the others -- more energy, more creative thinking. I hope I've got the details more or less correct, but that was the general idea.

 

So, agreeing with Wendyroo that healthy kids can catch up.

 

ETA

I can't seem to link this, but Google Finland Education Success Moore you tube. It's a clip from a Michael Moore film.

Edited by Alessandra
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Well, I home schooled a child who had managed to learn every little in the first four years of school. My step dd had significant problems in school and didn't learn anything there for four years. Instead of sending her to fifth grade we pulled her out. Our pastor's wife had been a home school mom for many years and gave her some diagnostic tests to see where to start her and  although in PS she would have been in fifth grade we needed to start her at the beginning of third. It was rough catching her up. It took two years because she needed to spend six weeks with her mom every summer.

 

Really she wasn't at third grade level in anything. Her second grade teacher had given the class calculators and told them not to learn math facts. So my hardest thing was teaching her math and spelling because the second grade teacher had said to use the calculator and just spell however you think you should. :cursing:  So she didn't think she should have to learn her math facts or how to spell because a REAL TEACHER had repeatedly said not to.

 

I home schooled her for four years with lots of struggles, mostly because she didn't want to learn. Some things she didn't want to learn because she didn't value learning and some things were because the early education she got at school was so terrible. The first two years we mostly worked on getting caught up on math and English and the next two years we got her all completely caught up to her peers. She went to high school and got good grades when she wanted to. She got straight A's the first quarter because she already knew all the material presented at that point.

 

She didn't do well in college, but that is because she really didn't want to learn. She wanted to live in the dorms and have fun.

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I used to have my own tutoring business.  Almost every single student started working with me in 5th grade.  It was the magical year when parents stopped relying on teacher's assurances that their child will just catch up on their own.  And yes, they caught up quickly and easily with peers in academic skills unless there were underlying learning disabilities.  What was harder were students who were in very language poor environments who didn't have years of vocabulary development and basic cultural literacy. 

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I think it's probably impossible to make a blanket statement, given the variations in mental ability, confidence, and motivation that youth from any background will have.

 

I would not feel good about limiting a child's opportunities in the present (whether in a school or at home) and banking on his/her being able to catch up later. Some kids will decide that they can't, or that it's not worth it. Some kids will strive like crazy but are slower learners to begin with.

 

I'm not talking about intentionally delaying formal instruction until age 7ish in an enriched enviroment, though. (We didn't, but I see the benefits, and we are keeping school fairly light/short now with very good results.)

Edited by whitehawk
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Another example. I read something recently about kids who do academics in preschool vs kids who start in 1st grade. The kids who started early experienced some burnout in late 2nd grade. By 3rd grade, the kids who started later surpassed the others -- more energy, more creative thinking. I hope I've got the details more or less correct, but that was the general idea.

 

 

I have my suspicions about this and what it means.  Think about it:

 

Between age 1 and 5, a child will spend 4 years learning the alphabet and how to count to 20.  4 YEARS.  Seriously, what child needs to learn something for 4 years?  Of course they will have burn out!  And then they will turn around that next year and attempt to put sounds with those letter names, spell words (they can't read) with those letter names, and memorize more.  Not a healthy model at all.  By 2nd grade, it's a matter of being beaten down by education for 5-6 years.

 

A child who is 4 or 5, having very little introduction other than sounds, will learn to read quickly.  A 5yo can sit down and play with addition after learning 1:1 correspondence and move quicker through math.  There is no burnout because they are not dwelling for years on the same thing.

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I think with motivation and a lack of learning difficulties, it would actually take very little time (a couple years) to get caught up to the point where the child was ready to tackle the same subjects as his peers. However, it would take much longer (if it is possible at all) for him to develop the deeper understanding and wider knowledge base of a child who has had a quality education from the start.

 

But this is just my own theory, I haven't had to see this in practice. :) So take it with a grain of salt.

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I know from experience (with other families, not mine) that children who are very, very far behind are unlikely to be caught up in public school. The schools just don't have the resources to accommodate a neurotypical15yo who can't read and who hasn't mastered third grade math.

A school principal in Ohio told me over the phone that neither the law nor his conscience would allow him to place a teenager in a classroom with primary grade children, so the only option would be a special needs classroom in the high school...but placement there would be difficult if the child didn't actually have special needs. And if they were placed, they would not end with a 12th grade education if they even stayed in, which most students wouldn't do. They would drop out.

He said to find someone, anyone, in the community to provide private tutoring, or find the money for Sylvan or Kumon. So I do believe there can be a line that is crossed that really messes up the young person's chances, if the family is relying on the community to help him catch up after they have chosen to neglect his education.

 

In a homeschool or tutorial setting with a neurotypical young teen, the gaps can be filled by starting at the grammar stage of learning, with logic stage or middle school (or higher) material. Does that make sense? Start back at the beginning of the concepts, but you don't need a book designed for a 6yo! With teens I have used....

 

Rod and Staff English 5 -- this is the starter level for logic stage to adult learners.

Lial's Basic College Math

Sonlight Cores 6 and 7 for a two-year overview of world history, and for teaching skills of narration, summarizing, analyzing, etc. before moving on to high school level writing.

 

But my tutored students could read. I would have to ask ElizabethB what to do with older children and teens who can't read, and how to catch up the other subjects if the literacy is lacking. I have no idea how to do that, other than to use the philosophy I just mentioned -- find beginner materials that are not childish, and move at their pace -- but I suspect that there would be a learning disability if a teen hadn't managed to learn to read at all. So expertise in that area would probably be required on the part of the tutor. It couldn't just be a friendly homeschool mom to step in and save the day.

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I'm thoroughly convinced that it depends on the child.  I used to think that I had some sort of control over how smart my kids were.  I figured I was giving them the best environment to do their best.  I'm now starting to believe that environment doesn't matter all that much and that they would have been equally successful in another environment.  I'm not saying environment has zero effect, but that the environmental factors would have to be extreme to make a huge difference. 

 

Some kids could probably catch up quickly.  Some maybe not.  I believe a lot of people homeschool because they notice something different about their kids and think that arrangement would be better for them.  They believe that maybe their kid would struggle in school.  But then maybe the parent can't do it anymore or couldn't meet their needs at home either.  The kid enters school and struggles.  But the struggle may have always been a possibility and isn't a result of an extreme difference in environment. 

 

 

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Well, there's this about arithmetic instruction:  https://www.scribd.com/doc/14389275/And-Rithmetic-by-Daniel-Greenberg

 

It talks about a group of kids (ages 9-12) at Sudbury who learned arithmetic in 20 contact hours plus homework.

 

The article doesn't discuss how much of the course was devoted to problem solving and how much to rote procedures.  I suspect that it was very procedure heavy.

 

There is something to be said for taking in math instruction in huge gulps.  It makes it much easier to see the big picture.  But in my experience, it also makes it easier to forget it all.

 

 

Edited by EKS
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I have my suspicions about this and what it means. Think about it:

 

Between age 1 and 5, a child will spend 4 years learning the alphabet and how to count to 20. 4 YEARS. Seriously, what child needs to learn something for 4 years? Of course they will have burn out! And then they will turn around that next year and attempt to put sounds with those letter names, spell words (they can't read) with those letter names, and memorize more. Not a healthy model at all. By 2nd grade, it's a matter of being beaten down by education for 5-6 years.

 

A child who is 4 or 5, having very little introduction other than sounds, will learn to read quickly. A 5yo can sit down and play with addition after learning 1:1 correspondence and move quicker through math. There is no burnout because they are not dwelling for years on the same thing.

Maybe I phrased it wrong, but the study agreed with what you are saying. In other words, it is not good to push formal education on very little kids. I think? the article may have been a comment on K level CC standards.

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Well, I home schooled a child who had managed to learn every little in the first four years of school. My step dd had significant problems in school and didn't learn anything there for four years. Instead of sending her to fifth grade we pulled her out. Our pastor's wife had been a home school mom for many years and gave her some diagnostic tests to see where to start her and although in PS she would have been in fifth grade we needed to start her at the beginning of third. It was rough catching her up. It took two years because she needed to spend six weeks with her mom every summer.

 

Really she wasn't at third grade level in anything. Her second grade teacher had given the class calculators and told them not to learn math facts. So my hardest thing was teaching her math and spelling because the second grade teacher had said to use the calculator and just spell however you think you should. :cursing: So she didn't think she should have to learn her math facts or how to spell because a REAL TEACHER had repeatedly said not to.

 

I home schooled her for four years with lots of struggles, mostly because she didn't want to learn. Some things she didn't want to learn because she didn't value learning and some things were because the early education she got at school was so terrible. The first two years we mostly worked on getting caught up on math and English and the next two years we got her all completely caught up to her peers. She went to high school and got good grades when she wanted to. She got straight A's the first quarter because she already knew all the material presented at that point.

 

She didn't do well in college, but that is because she really didn't want to learn. She wanted to live in the dorms and have fun.

Oh, that must have been tough for you, but what a great thing to do!

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For a 10 or 11 year old kid with no learning difficulties, and has just not been taught the usual K-5 materials, it is possible to catch up in a year under private tutelage with "average" 6th graders.

 

A child who could read somewhat could learn multiplication, division, decimals, percents, factorization using a tutor and the Key to ... Series

https://www.rainbowresource.com/prodlist.php?subject=Mathematics/10&category=Key+To%85.Books/2225

 

A child who could already read somewhat would probably need a tutor to focus on grammar, spelling, vocabulary as well as build up his/her reading fluency. Science and History for k-8 can be easily caught up in 7th-8th once reading is on level. There is very little math up to 8th grade science, just reading and understanding.

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Well, there's this about arithmetic instruction: https://www.scribd.com/doc/14389275/And-Rithmetic-by-Daniel-Greenberg

 

It talks about a group of kids (ages 9-12) at Sudbury who learned arithmetic in 20 contact hours plus homework.

 

The article doesn't discuss how much of the course was devoted to problem solving and how much to rote procedures. I suspect that it was very procedure heavy.

 

There is something to be said for taking in math instruction in huge gulps. It makes it much easier to see the big picture. But in my experience, it also makes it easier to forget it all.

I really wish he had named the primer he used. Loved the article.

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Also, this reminded me of things I've read about children growing up during periods of war.  I've read many Holocaust biographies about people whose education was completely stalled for at least 6 years (during pre-war and then ghetto/concentration camp years).  They were still able to catch up and many of them eventually went on to get their PhD and do spectacular things.

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Some of the recent threads have me wondering what would happen to children who had not been given adequate education in the elementary years (let's say up to grade 5 or 6).

 

This is a 2-part discussion.

 

Part 1:

Can these children even "catch-up" to their peers (either by being enrolled in public school or a turnaround in the homeschool environment)?  How long does such a "catch-up" take?  Or will they always be behind?  Do these children go on to college successfully?

 

 

Part 2:

If you were given the task to catch a child up (say a 5th grader), how would you go about it?  To make this easier, let's say the child can read but not strongly.  Some math exposure but behind grade level.  What would you teach/add to feel this child can work competitively alongside same-aged peers (who had not been educationally neglected).  

 

How would it be any different than a child who has spent many years of inadequate public or private schooling?  The number of people homeschooling today who withdrew their children from public and private schools because of inadequate homeschooling is legion.

 

What do you imagine these children need to "catch up" with? Reading? math? what?

 

I'm just sort of annoyed by your question. How would you define "inadequate homeschooling"? What about the children whose parents believe in delayed academics until the dc are 10 or 11yo? Why is "grade 5 or 6" (and I use quotes because homeschooled children are not "grades" but ages) your magic number for determining whether or not children had been "inadequately homeschooled"?

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Also, this reminded me of things I've read about children growing up during periods of war.  I've read many Holocaust biographies about people whose education was completely stalled for at least 6 years (during pre-war and then ghetto/concentration camp years).  They were still able to catch up and many of them eventually went on to get their PhD and do spectacular things.

 

Yup--we have a relative who was in hiding in Poland for several years as a tween/teen and he ended up becoming a successful engineer in the United States.

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Too many variables to consider. While I've seen kids catch up in the PS it isn't often. I have seen students catch up very quickly with good tutoring, but it costs the parents a lot of money to do so and not everyone has that cash on hand. And as another poster said, it depends on the life that was lead. Lord of the Flies life leaves so many emotional and mental barriers to overcome that it is much, much, much harder for the child to move ahead.

 

It also depends on if one is talking about "catching up" being ready for a college prep path that begins in 8th grade or not. If starting out from scratch, barely reading, barely knowing any math at all, barely being exposed to literature, good writing, or worse starting from total scratch, etc. then I think that isn't so likely. Not impossible, just very unlikely. If we are talking about the basics becoming literate, composing a decent paragraph, learning basic arithmetic and consumer math, then yes. Being ready for algebra 1 in 8th grade or AP US History in 9th? Tackling Shakespeare three years later? Not so likely.

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In college, I tutored high school students from a very low income area.  These were kids who had been left behind in classes or moved around too much.  Educational Neglect.

 

I had students come in who were first/second grade reading and math levels.  In a year, they could be caught up to about 8th grade level.  In two, they could be ready to graduate high school.  Maybe not top university-ready, but capable of functioning in a work place or taking community college classes.

 

These were older students than what the OP posed.  And it took dedicated students who really wanted this for themselves - not just because someone told them to be there.

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Agreed strongly with some of the above sentiments... Namely...

 

Assuming that a child had a rich life in other ways then yes, absolutely. Totally possible and doable.

 

However, if we're talking about a child in a stressed, neglectful, or abusive environment, I think it depends.

 

Also, if it's a child who has serious learning issues that haven't been identified because of the lack of instruction, then I think it depends greatly. Early intervention, especially for certain issues, is key to allowing a kid to stay on any sort of timetable with his or her peers. Of course, life is long and someone can always catch up eventually, but if we're talking about being eventually college or job ready at the same time as peers, then that could be an issue.

 

And, finally, while I think it's completely, absolutely doable and even could be easy in the right environment, I agree with what Tibbie said about how it's not something that most public schools are set up to support. 

 

I think the thing that some of these parents who do take a "better late than early" or just a super relaxed approach to schooling all through elementary school get a little wrong is that the kid gets to some magic age - 10 or 11 or 12 or so - and suddenly the parent freaks out about the child's low level of skills and sends that kid to school. Except... oy. Early adolescence is a hard time for kids. So much brain growth, so many changes in how they view social relationships, so much tension in the parent-child relationship, and suddenly they're thrown to the wolves with very little preparation. I'm sure it works out sometimes, but I think it's a recipe for disaster. If you keep a kid home with a relaxed, low skill approach in elementary, I think you're really obliged to spend that time and catch that kid up. Which, again, I think is something that's not necessarily difficult if there are no other issues present, but is something that's better done in a homeschool environment than a school one.

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Are we talking about a malnourished orphan who has been living Lord of the Flies in a white-washed concrete asylum for a decade?  I think it is very unlikely they would be able to catch up to their peers academically in the foreseeable future even if they were plopped into the ideal educational setting.

 

Astonishingly, I have this child. Add in two chronic illnesses, as well!

 

She not only caught up, she got a $34k+ college scholarship (per year) and is heading into senior year as a biology major. She plans to attend graduate school in a health-related field.

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Also, this reminded me of things I've read about children growing up during periods of war. I've read many Holocaust biographies about people whose education was completely stalled for at least 6 years (during pre-war and then ghetto/concentration camp years). They were still able to catch up and many of them eventually went on to get their PhD and do spectacular things.

I would like to think there's a similar hopeful outcome for students displaced after Katrina. Time will tell.

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I suppose that by the standards you've written here, you would say that my older, hs'ed kids were 'behind' in elementary years.  I always cringe slightly when I read those posts where people are calling it some kind of 'educational neglect' if the kids haven't reached some educational stage by certain ages.  Ds's weren't reading until 10-12yo.  They were exposed to books and I did low-key phonics with them, but I let them develop at their own rates.  I did some math, but don't remember exactly what (Math-It maybe?).   

 

So for Part 1:  Yes, they 'caught up' with kids who began reading at younger ages.  I found that when they finally began to read fluently, they developed very rapidly.  By 15-16yo, both ds's were doing a full WTM rhetoric curriculum, including reading the Great Books (unabridged).  And, yes, they've done fine in college, although they did begin college much later than the average kid does in our culture.  Looking at just this past semester, younger ds had all A's, was inducted into an honor society (Phi Kappa Phi), won a large scholarship from the department of his major, was invited to present his papers at college events (?), is attending some kind of event focused on economics at Bryn Mawr College in June, and is currently at the Destination Imagination Global Finals in Knoxville.  Older ds just finished his first year at college.  Last semester, he had 3 A's and 3 B's.  He has a more laid back personality, so I'm not sure how much he even keeps up with his grades.  While the other 4 were looking up their final grades as soon as they were up, this ds only looked at his grades days later after I specifically texted him and asked him what he'd made.  lol  And, fwiw, a kid in one of his classes who was also in a class with my younger ds, told younger ds that his brother was "stupid smart", whatever that means.   :huh:   :blink:  

 

For Part 2 of your question:  I think it depends a lot on the child's attitude.  When I took my oldest (no LD's), always ps'ed ds out to hs him at the age of 14yo, he hated school.  He was supposed to be in 9th grade, but was reading at a 6th grade level.  I put him back into ps after less than a year.  Looking back, I think I could have done more with him if I'd had more experience and better materials.  Like someone else said, materials that weren't written for 1st graders, per se.  His overall attitude about school?  "Just give me the F and let's go on, Mom."  He was also a late reader.  The primary difference was that he was a late reader in the ps system, versus my other 2 ds's who were late readers at home (hs'ed).  This ds has never caught up academically.  He was in college at a community college in Baltimore a while back.  He was calling my dh to get help with his math and my dh said it was basic algebra that he was messing up.  Could he have caught up?  Yes, I definitely think so.  But it would have taken a tutor who knew how to work with kids like this kid who had been passed up to the next grade every year whether they could do the work or not.  I think I could do that NOW, knowing what I know.  But I can't see that happening in a typical ps setting.      

 

 

 

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I know a family very well who chose to unschool their children and unschooling for them didn't look like much. The kids were read aloud to, occasionally they would play some math games, they learned to read around 8-13 (depended on the kid), had a small farm type environment and worked with other adults the family knew to learn skills like ranching and handyman stuff. They never did a math textbook and most of them have horrible handwriting but they didn't have any issues going into community college and completing their general Ed. Several of them were at the top of their classes in CC and the one son who wanted to go to university applied to a CalPoly and got accepted. They were able to integrate themselves fairly well but they did come from a family where hard work was the standard and most of them liked learning.

 

It isn't how I would want to teach my kids but it wasn't a disaster for them.

 

 

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I think this is a complicated question to answer.

 

In theory, it shouldn't be hard. I mean, the basic "facts" covered in elementary education aren't that difficult. But the person who is "behind" is not a blank slate and education isn't just about acquiring facts, right?

 

If the child comes from an environment which does not value education, there's going to be a psychological hurdle to cramming it in. Plus, by cramming it in, there's less time to let the concepts percolate, be remembered, played with, or enjoyed. This is a problem when it comes to learning math concepts, but also applies to other subjects. Willingham's book had a chapter in it where he discussed what people remember high school Algebra the best and why. There's another book I read which I can't remember the title of right now, which also discussed memory, learning, and retention. Basically, to learn something the "best" takes time, a lot of time, it takes forgetting, it takes relearning, it takes conceptual understanding, and it takes application. This is why I have a huge problem with the "better late" philosophy. 

 

I don't want to talk about myself again, but just briefly - I have a gap in my education that spreads from about 3rd to 8th. In that period I read books, most of which was fiction, some adult level (some I shouldn't have read at that age, lol), and did some social things. When I started getting outside classes halfway through 8th I did fine in English (except diagramming, which seemed to be gobbledegook) and stressed my way through getting caught up in Math, memorizing the procedures and never learning how math works. You could say I was doing okay, but I was just a "good student" who caught on to the few things I was expected to show knowledge of. I never did learn what nouns or verbs were till I got to my DE Greek class. I didn't know I was supposed to have already known them (that was embarrassing!). Another big problem was dealing with the fact that my mother was antagonistic towards anything outside the "3 R's" (which is weird, I know, since she didn't really make sure we knew the 3 r's either, unless she thought knowing how to read and basic arithmetic was the 3 r's?). Stepping outside that mindset was nerve-wracking and made me even more adrift from her advice. The biggest problem was a lack of study skills and habits of laziness. I suppose lots of people naturally want to lay around in bed all day and read novels, but I've actually done it. It's nice. It's not my goal in life, but it's still there, like a bad addiction.

 

I want to say that I would have done better if I had had a personal tutor who would have gone through and identified my holes and shored up my weak skills. And who told me how to stick to a good study plan. But I don't know if I would have listened, my mother always said that homeschoolers were smart, and her kids were smarter than them all already, so I suspect I wouldn't have seen a need for a tutor, at least at first. And later, hmm, I probably would have said that I wanted to do what I wanted. That's what I had always done, after all.

 

 

And FTR, my DH grandmother was a teen when the Nazi's closed her school. When the war was over she never had a chance to go back and finish her education. To her dying day she was always quite embarrassed about her lack of education, and how she struggled to understand books and tv shows more complicated than those little dime-store novels types. Yes, some people have been able to get through horrible circumstances and overcome them spectacularly, but lots of other people can't. In these types of discussions I find it unhelpful to confuse "coulds" and "cans".

 

And I think lots of Americans misunderstand what is going on in Finland. I feel like a wet blanket for saying that, but that's what I think.

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I think it depends on the brick and mortar school the child is going into and the child him/herself.

 

I put a child with newly diagnosed LDs into an extremely good B&M public school. The learning curve was STEEP, and that was with him repeating a grade and having extra support (resource room). The next year I put a neurotypical kid into the same school, expecting him to do great, and he was also "behind" in some subjects (especially language arts). I was not a neglectful homeschooler. I was more on the eclectic side -- we did lots of reading aloud (me reading aloud) and discussing, and I was having him do "grade level" work in math and language arts -- but it was *far* "behind" what the public school was doing. 

 

It used to be that homeschoolers were way ahead of public schools, that you could assume that if you were doing what was marked "3rd grade" by a homeschool curriculum company, you were in good shape (compared to B&M 3rd graders). I don't think this is true anymore. The bar has gone way up in many public schools and what they require exceeds the expectations of many homeschoolers. 

 

My kids have both "caught up," thanks to the help of dedicated teachers and extra help at home. 

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To add I also think it is possible that some school personnel will interpret/assume issues with school in a formerly homeschooled child as a result of inadequate homeschooling because they have a prejudice against homeschooling in general.  

 

I was talking with a CC instructor I had about homeschooling.  His main job was as a high school math teacher.  The first thing he asked me was which curriculum I used because he knows of formerly homeschooled students who struggled due to using curriculum at home that wasn't "good enough".  I didn't answer that question, btw.  He went on and on about it and was convinced that parents could not do a good enough job with preparing their children for math.  He changed his tune when I told him what my 13 year old scored on the placement test for the CC and then was allowed to enroll in a college level math class.  (I do not have any special math abilities either.)

 

My point being he already had his mind made up that there was something wrong with homeschooling.  On another day he said to me he wished he could homeschool his kids.  But really, did my kid's results have to be THAT amazing to earn any respect?  I don't think that would be fair.  I think even for a kid who was homeschooled rigorously there could be a reasonable period of adjustment because homeschooling really is not exactly like a B & M schooling arrangement. 

 

There is less than ideal and then there is extremely bad.  There is not reading much and then there is never seeing the light of day.  Plus if we can't go back and have a redo to compare how they would have fared if never having homeschooled, we simply can't say for sure if homeschooling was the biggest problem.  A lot of what we do in school is quite different than we do in the "real world". 

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kids frequently have to play catch-up from inadequate PUBLIC schooling.

 

1ds had to play catch up with math.  he went on khan academy - and it took him back to *basic* math before bringing him forward and into calculus.  (which he had to test into in order to start an engineering program.).   he finally understood the reason he hated math was he didn't even understand the basics.

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kids frequently have to play catch-up from inadequate PUBLIC schooling.

 

1ds had to play catch up with math.  he went on khan academy - and it took him back to *basic* math before bringing him forward and into calculus.  (which he had to test into in order to start an engineering program.).   he finally understood the reason he hated math was he didn't even understand the basics.

 

Yes.  Look at how many college students have to take remedial courses after graduating with good grades (good enough to get them into a fairly decent school).  So either schools don't attempt to prepare students for college or some of them are inadequate (or, to be fair, the student would struggle a bit no matter what). 

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Lots of p.s. students "learn for the test" and then immediately forget the material.  Lots of them have gaps in their education whether it is from moving or having a bad teacher for certain years or things in their home-life distracting them or the schools changing curriculum yet again  Lots of ps students have a lack of study skills.  None of this is homeschool specific.  I'm not saying that it is ideal but students can overcome these things. 

 

All the students I tutored were public school students.  They all had some pretty big gaps in their education.  I had to take many of them back skill wise to fill in those gaps esp. in math and phonics.  The only student I feel like I really failed came from a very language poor setting.  There were absolutely no books or magazines in that house or even pictures on the wall.  That student (who lived in the inner city) did not know basic vocabulary like "intersection" even though he was surrounded by them.  Teaching him was a struggle because you use language and vocabulary to teach all subjects and we had a hard time getting over that hurdle.  He dropped out of high school at the end and I often wonder how he did later in life. 

 

When I tutored, I did a lot of short but very direct lessons.  We also spent some time with read alouds or simply reading.  Not only did I catch most kids up with their class, but I had two teachers complain because the kids surpassed the class. 

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Lots of p.s. students "learn for the test" and then immediately forget the material.

 

That's exactly what I did.  I felt like a well trained monkey.

 

I was always a big reader and I'm sure that helped in general, but in terms of the various things I had to learn in school, I just memorized the information for the test.  Because how much arbitrary information can a person really retain long term?

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If the child comes from an environment which does not value education, there's going to be a psychological hurdle to cramming it in. Plus, by cramming it in, there's less time to let the concepts percolate, be remembered, played with, or enjoyed. This is a problem when it comes to learning math concepts, but also applies to other subjects. Willingham's book had a chapter in it where he discussed what people remember high school Algebra the best and why.

 

The graph of algebra test scores taken years after the course in Willingham's book is fascinating. Over a thousand people of various backgrounds took an algebra test. Some had just finished their first algebra course while others hadn't taken algebra in 55 years. On average, people who had just finished the algebra course got only a 60% on the test. The more math someone took, the better they did. Students with a C in algebra who went on to take more math courses did better than A students who stopped.

 

Students who stopped after calculus did better on average, even 55 years later, than students who stopped after algebra or continued but stopped before calculus. Those who took courses higher than calculus, (apparently regardless of grades) still scored 90-100% on the test, even when they were elderly.

 

The author's takeaway is that people need lots of practice to remember algebra for anything more than a few months after the course ends. To me, it seems that if someone really needs to know algebra for their job, one way to make sure they remember it is to make sure they take up through calculus to make sure the previous knowledge is cemented.

 

This probably explains why although I haven't taken or Spanish in over a decade, I can still remember much of the material from 7-9th grade. The same goes with my flute. I can pick it up and play about as well as I could in maybe 6th grade. Sure, I can't play as well as 10th grade, but I did quit over 15 years ago.

 

I guess my point with all this is that it seems that if someone really needs to know x to be educated, they better continue beyond x for several courses. They'll forget the later stuff over time, but they might just be able to remember x.

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That's exactly what I did.  I felt like a well trained monkey.

 

I was always a big reader and I'm sure that helped in general, but in terms of the various things I had to learn in school, I just memorized the information for the test.  Because how much arbitrary information can a person really retain long term?

Without application, and in particular, writing about the subject material, this is true of private schooled kids and home schooled ones as well. Many boxed curricula are fill in the blank, true and false, multiple choice - memorize for the test no mid terms or finals, no papers, no project, no applied learning, nothing else - check the box education. I've known many a home schooled kid who did nothing but memorize a tremendous amount of data and promptly forget it as soon as the test was over because he/she would never be required to recall the information again, especially for science, history, and literature.

 

Homeschooling is not immune to this phenomenon. It is a human trait. Use it or lose it. 

 

The local private school gives out this "education". Has done so for over 30 years. Their students do no better upon graduation than the PS students who take the same kinds of classes or the home schooled kids whose education was similar. 

 

As for trained monkey, I've seen that too with home schooled kids. Parents have to make a special effort to go out of their way to make opportunities for their kids to do more than check the box, go through the motions. I think it is easy to think that the average home school is not like this because so many of us on this board are passionate about education, and we all hang out here chatting together, commiserating, sharing advice so our home school world feels very much anti "the monkey in the cage" syndrome and we think that is because of home schooling. To some degree maybe it is, but I think it is hugely influenced by how we parent, and our desire to pursue intentional learning instead of passive learning. I think we the hive would do this in some form with our kids even if they were in a B & M school. My parents were always worried about that way back when I was a little kids and our local PS was doing a pretty darn good job. So they were still questioning us after school, looking for ways for us to use our new found knowledge at home be it cooking, sewing, woodworking, helping in dad's business, joining 4H or Scouts or entering the science fair and taking lessons on instruments, and....they didn't let it get stagnate, and I doubt that most of the parents on this board would allow it either.

 

We are just simply a different breed, LOL. Believe me, I've seen enough of the other side of homeschooling to know that memorize, take a quiz, and never do anything with the information is also very normal no different than the PS just a difference in location and more recess time.

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I don't know. I am sure there are a lot of factors to consider.

 

We're anticipating ds taking a placement test at a school this summer. We had concluded that if for some reason he doesn't do well on the test and they want to hold him back, we'd rather not enroll him. I don't foresee that happening. But, if there are areas in which he doesn't do well we'd work our best to get him caught up.

 

I would like to believe that catching up is possible with the right motivation, time and resources. But not everyone has that. And it depends on how behind they are I guess. Maybe some things are too overwhelming to truly catch up on. The child is in upper elem. and has many gaps with basics and/or has learning obstacles.

 

I have an optimistic bias since I skipped K and went straight into first (K-1 classroom, actually. Teacher aid worked with us first graders) and I was behind. Due to a move/birthday cutoff and lack of communication I guess between the school and my parents, we didn't realize I should have already been reading. I did catch up and excelled in school later. But had I been a weak reader in an older grade I think it would have been more challenging for day to day work.

 

For Part 2 of your question -- I would use homeschool tools to my advantage. I have found so many useful tools recommended here that I think might help fast track a child's understanding in a given area. For example, I'm trying to "catch up" ds on times tables. Technically we aren't done with second grade yet, but since that placement test is coming up I'm trying to speed things along. We're using Times Tales to learn mult. facts and he's already memorized several in the past week. I wish I would have had exposure to that when I was a kid! I'm an adult that never learned all her math facts. I don't really know what happened there. I still mix some up or blank out so the videos are helping me, too.

 

For language, I would work heavily on phonics. Phonogram tiles, Doodling Dragons book (LOE product), looking into an O-G program if necessary, etc.

 

Nowadays there are so many engaging and alternative ways to learn (maybe some have been around a long time, but new to me). Educational games either purchased or made. Educational videos (Leap Frog, etc.).

 

The hardest part I think would be making time and not burning the child out.

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I think the attitude of the student would make a massive difference. We have family friends who unschooled their children, there's a big age gap between their kids and the eldest is 18 (nearly 19). She is very much someone who has suffered from inadequate homeschooling mostly because her dad is really repulsed by anything that even vaguely looks like it belongs in a school and has drummed it into her that she shouldn't have to do anything like that. It's meant she's missed a huge range of things and also the experience of slowly gaining skills with persistence. She's managed to get onto a course to study drama but is floundering because she can't meet the levels needed to complete the course since she also has to show a certain level of maths and English. She isn't prepared to study anything she doesn't find fun or that takes any length of time. She stopped being homeschooled 3 yrs ago and she's kind of stalled since and just going around in circles at this stage. Her 11 yr old brother should be better off because her parents split up and their mum has different opinions and is doing things differently now the dad is not controlling everything.

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Yep.  Which is why I omit a lot of the busy work.  It probably seems like my kids' output is much less than B & M schooled kids, but I just don't believe piles of worksheets does much.  Since they aren't used to piles of worksheets, there would likely be an adjustment period if they had to go to school. 

 

We are definitely a different breed.  I do not regularly encounter people like some of the people here in my day to day life.  Not even among homeschoolers. 

 

 

Without application, and in particular, writing about the subject material, this is true of private schooled kids and home schooled ones as well. Many boxed curricula are fill in the blank, true and false, multiple choice - memorize for the test no mid terms or finals, no papers, no project, no applied learning, nothing else - check the box education. I've known many a home schooled kid who did nothing but memorize a tremendous amount of data and promptly forget it as soon as the test was over because he/she would never be required to recall the information again, especially for science, history, and literature.

 

Homeschooling is not immune to this phenomenon. It is a human trait. Use it or lose it. 

 

The local private school gives out this "education". Has done so for over 30 years. Their students do no better upon graduation than the PS students who take the same kinds of classes or the home schooled kids whose education was similar. 

 

As for trained monkey, I've seen that too with home schooled kids. Parents have to make a special effort to go out of their way to make opportunities for their kids to do more than check the box, go through the motions. I think it is easy to think that the average home school is not like this because so many of us on this board are passionate about education, and we all hang out here chatting together, commiserating, sharing advice so our home school world feels very much anti "the monkey in the cage" syndrome and we think that is because of home schooling. To some degree maybe it is, but I think it is hugely influenced by how we parent, and our desire to pursue intentional learning instead of passive learning. I think we the hive would do this in some form with our kids even if they were in a B & M school. My parents were always worried about that way back when I was a little kids and our local PS was doing a pretty darn good job. So they were still questioning us after school, looking for ways for us to use our new found knowledge at home be it cooking, sewing, woodworking, helping in dad's business, joining 4H or Scouts or entering the science fair and taking lessons on instruments, and....they didn't let it get stagnate, and I doubt that most of the parents on this board would allow it either.

 

We are just simply a different breed, LOL. Believe me, I've seen enough of the other side of homeschooling to know that memorize, take a quiz, and never do anything with the information is also very normal no different than the PS just a difference in location and more recess time.

 

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Some of the recent threads have me wondering what would happen to children who had not been given adequate education in the elementary years (let's say up to grade 5 or 6).

 

This is a 2-part discussion.

 

Part 1:

Can these children even "catch-up" to their peers (either by being enrolled in public school or a turnaround in the homeschool environment)?  How long does such a "catch-up" take?  Or will they always be behind?  Do these children go on to college successfully?

 

 

Part 2:

If you were given the task to catch a child up (say a 5th grader), how would you go about it?  To make this easier, let's say the child can read but not strongly.  Some math exposure but behind grade level.  What would you teach/add to feel this child can work competitively alongside same-aged peers (who had not been educationally neglected).  

 

1.  Can they?  Yes they can.  Will they?  That depends on why they are behind, what support systems are needed, what support systems are available, as well as the specific child in question.  There are WAAAAAY too many variables for a blanket statement to make any sense in this context but as a general rule, yes.  Why do I think that?  See below...

 

2.  How would I go about doing this?  I know exactly how, since I am doing it.  My DD was in 5th grade and barely decoding Clifford books.  She was floundering in math as well.  She was also in school and still being passed on to the next grade level each year regardless of the fact that she was actually functionally behind by several grade levels.  The school system failed her, I failed her, my husband and mother failed her.  She was an undiagnosed dyslexic who also had a maths disability.  We did not know what was wrong or how to help.  We also did not realize just how behind she was since she had developed some coping strategies.

 

What did we do?  We got evaluations to determine what was really happening, brought her home, used a method for teaching reading/writing/spelling that was specifically designed for dyslexics and gave her the scaffolding and one on one attention she needed.  She went from Clifford books in 5th grade to reading Divergent a year and a half later.  I thought her math issues were because of the dyslexia.  I was wrong.  Pushing her forward was just making things 10 times worse.  We finally started completely over with the absolute basic building blocks of math in 7th grade.  She is now working through 5th/6th grade math and making progress.  Is it slow going?  Yes.  She has a maths issue that is actually pretty severe.   But she covered 5/6 years of math in two.  She made more progress in those two years than she ever did with 7 years of standard class instruction (4k-5th).

 

But let me flip this around for a bit.  Suppose a student has a severe deficit in one or more areas, but also has strengths in other areas.  If those strengths are nurtured, even if academics are not supported in the traditional sense, can they "succeed"?  Again, yes.  Learning can be many things and approached in many ways.  One question that perhaps we should be asking is not if a student can "catch up" based on the arbitrary time line of a traditional public school but how can they thrive even if they need to be outside of the artificial academic environment?

 

DH almost didn't graduate High School.  He was floundering.  He is also extremely intelligent.  His parents didn't understand why he was floundering but they supported his outside interests strongly, even though they had very little money.   Those outside interests did far more for his employability than any class he took in High School.  He is now a very successful engineer.  He did go on to college but he never got his degree.  He didn't need to.  He just kept getting promoted and finally dropped out because he was working too many hours and kept advancing without the piece of paper.  His employers recognized that he had more knowledge/ability than many of his peers that had gotten that degree.  In fact, he started getting engineering jobs while he was still in High School.  He never "caught up" in the traditional sense but he absolutely thrived outside of a standard academic environment.

 

Does that mean that kids should just quit school and they will be fine?  Of course not.  DH was lucky.  But it does mean, at least to me, that we are defining a good education from too narrow a viewpoint and because of that may be putting some students, that might otherwise thrive and have much to offer, onto a path of failure.

 

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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I can get a child who is older and not had extensive sight words caught up or ahead in 10 to 30 hours. The toughest ones are the older students who have had a lot of sight words, you have to untrain the guessing, so it takes longer.

 

My fastest students were two black formerly homeless 2nd grade boys. They were reading 12th grade level Webster passages without help after 6 group tutoring sessions. They were smart little boys who had had almost no school. The situation was somewhat fluid so they did not get an after grade level test, just a before test showing they could read basically nothing.

 

The next fastest studnts to get caught up are non homeless inner city kids, they had sight words at school but had not worked on them at home. I had two minority students, both fifth graders, a girl and boy, go from being behind to reading at an 8th grade level after 18 hours in a group class.

 

My middle class students need daily nonsense words with my game to progress as fast, otherwise it takes them 4 to 10 times longer depending on how much sight words were stressed at home and how fast they learn. My slowest students were in a school that did sight word speed drills and the parents were diligent about practicing them.

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Normal phonics will not get older students caught up as fast--I work on multisyllable things so am getting work with syllables at the same time I am working on basic phonics. I have decreased the amout of time it takes over the years, and since adding Webster's Speller have increased the number of students who I get above grade level by more than a grade, I used to get most of my students at grade level or one grade above.

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I'm just sort of annoyed by your question. How would you define "inadequate homeschooling"? What about the children whose parents believe in delayed academics until the dc are 10 or 11yo? Why is "grade 5 or 6" (and I use quotes because homeschooled children are not "grades" but ages) your magic number for determining whether or not children had been "inadequately homeschooled"?

 

Wow, gee. Don't hold back...  :confused1:

 

 

I was simply thinking of the thread about the children who were not being homeschooled while at home (it was the thread about whether or not to call CPS in an otherwise loving home); that's why I called it a spin-off thread.  I picked 5th or 6th grade because of the ages of the children listed in the other thread.  I picked "inadequately homeschooled" because several people thought these children were experiencing educational neglect.  They were "homeschooled" and it was (widely agreed, in that thread) "inadequate."

 

There are no ulterior motives here.   Many of the replies in the other thread were recommending the OP speak with the mom in question. I was wondering where the mom goes from there... what sort of path one would take to cover missed ground.  

 

ETA:  I'd consider it the same as if a child were brought home public/private school; I'm not picking on homeschooling or saying there is a wrong/right way to do it.  

Edited by alisoncooks
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And, FWIW, my children are "late" learners, partly because I have been relaxed in our approach and partly because they have struggled with reading.  So part of my question was hypothetical, but part of my question was asked with personal interest in the topic.

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My students do take a while to build up spelling and vocabulary and writing skills, they are not as fast to remediate, they take incremental work over time. I always suggest the 1879 McGuffey readers or reading with Kindle and double clicking vocabulary they do not know. I also usually suggest Spelling Plus and Writing With Ease, no matter how old they are, they usually need to separate out narration and dictation for a while, and they all need a focus on spelling basics.

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I think it's possible for them to catch up, but not likely, depending on the specific situation and how old the child is.

 

I knew a family with three kids who were all behind because the mom was non-schooling disguised as unschooling. The oldest was a teenage boy who was barely literate and could barely do basic arithmetic. He had the intelligence to get caught up and no LDs, but he was so ashamed of his vast educational deficits and so angry at his parents for letting him get to that point that he couldn't get past it all to just sit down and learn. The books at his academic level were all for much younger children, and he refused to use them. It was so much easier for him to pretend he wasn't behind and to hide his issues.

 

I think the younger kids would have a much better shot at getting caught up because they aren't so aware of how behind they are, and don't have all the emotional baggage and resentment that goes with that. With older kids who are the victims of educational neglect, however, I'm guessing it's fairly common for them to have a lot of psychological issues associated with it that get in the way of learning. So my plan to get them caught up would be to deal with that first.

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How would it be any different than a child who has spent many years of inadequate public or private schooling?  The number of people homeschooling today who withdrew their children from public and private schools because of inadequate homeschooling is legion.

 

What do you imagine these children need to "catch up" with? Reading? math? what?

 

I'm just sort of annoyed by your question. How would you define "inadequate homeschooling"? What about the children whose parents believe in delayed academics until the dc are 10 or 11yo? Why is "grade 5 or 6" (and I use quotes because homeschooled children are not "grades" but ages) your magic number for determining whether or not children had been "inadequately homeschooled"?

 

Who the heck intentionally delays academics until eleven? Seven or eight, sure, I know some people do that. But eleven? That would be borderline neglect, imo. And I'm not talking about situations where there are LDs. 

 

I would certainly define "inadequate homeschooling" as "someone who didn't bother to teach their NT kid to read, write, or do basic math by the age of eleven." 

Edited by Mergath
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I think it's possible for them to catch up, but not likely, depending on the specific situation and how old the child is.

 

I knew a family with three kids who were all behind because the mom was non-schooling disguised as unschooling. The oldest was a teenage boy who was barely literate and could barely do basic arithmetic. He had the intelligence to get caught up and no LDs, but he was so ashamed of his vast educational deficits and so angry at his parents for letting him get to that point that he couldn't get past it all to just sit down and learn. The books at his academic level were all for much younger children, and he refused to use them. It was so much easier for him to pretend he wasn't behind and to hide his issues.

 

I think the younger kids would have a much better shot at getting caught up because they aren't so aware of how behind they are, and don't have all the emotional baggage and resentment that goes with that. With older kids who are the victims of educational neglect, however, I'm guessing it's fairly common for them to have a lot of psychological issues associated with it that get in the way of learning. So my plan to get them caught up would be to deal with that first.

My remedial phomics lessons are designed partly around that, 2 syllable words from the first lesson. Also, that is why people use Lial's Basic College math for remediation of math, it has college on the cover!! Webster's Speller with grade levels for words is also good, they see themselves moving up quickly from 4th to 5th to... and if they are really insecure I work with them on words a grade or two above their grade, or 12th grade level if they are adults, with a bit of support they can do it, it gives them confidence they will be able to get there and sound them out on their own.

 

Middle school students are actually the worst in terms of motivation from my experience, and they don't like my game, I have to use lists of nonsense words instead. High schoolers and adults enjoy my game and so do elementary students.

Edited by ElizabethB
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I think it's possible for them to catch up, but not likely, depending on the specific situation and how old the child is.

 

I knew a family with three kids who were all behind because the mom was non-schooling disguised as unschooling. The oldest was a teenage boy who was barely literate and could barely do basic arithmetic. He had the intelligence to get caught up and no LDs, but he was so ashamed of his vast educational deficits and so angry at his parents for letting him get to that point that he couldn't get past it all to just sit down and learn. The books at his academic level were all for much younger children, and he refused to use them. It was so much easier for him to pretend he wasn't behind and to hide his issues.

 

I think the younger kids would have a much better shot at getting caught up because they aren't so aware of how behind they are, and don't have all the emotional baggage and resentment that goes with that. With older kids who are the victims of educational neglect, however, I'm guessing it's fairly common for them to have a lot of psychological issues associated with it that get in the way of learning. So my plan to get them caught up would be to deal with that first.

Similar situation here several years ago when I was teaching at a K-8 Lutheran school. The parents were non-educating under the guise of homeschooling and the 15 year old boy with no LD's could only read at a seond grade level. The 12 year old not at all. The 8 year old could not count past 20, nor write her own name. The household was rather feral as well so eventually the neighbors called CPS.

 

The courts said, enroll them in school. So she brought them to us. Sigh...first of all it was a k-8 so the boy was technically too old to attend. We talked with the PS principal and his concern was that since it would be entirely inappropriate to put him back in a second grade class room with 6-8 year olds, he would have to be placed in a fairly restrictive special ed class functioning at that level but it would be socially horrible for him, and the stigma and self-esteem issues that would go with it would be crazy. We faculty were already putting together a plan for the 8 year old, and trying to figure out what to do with the 12 year old. The 8 year old went half days with the reading specialist and got a lot of attention while also listening to the lessons that the other kids were receiving, and then half days with our math specialist doing the same. For recesses, PE, art, music, and field trips, she went to the 2nd grade classroom. We had to do something very similar for the 12 year old. But the 15 year old?

 

We got some adult literacy books, a Lial's Basic College Mathematics book to do after some Singapore books, and placed him in the secretary's office. We had two full time secretaries plus a lot of volunteers coming and going who all managed to spend time with him every day. The reading specialist gave him 30 minutes as well, and after a school year, we had him up to a 6th grade reading level. At that point he was 16 and still not ready for high school though. He stayed until he was 18 - we did it for free because the mom didn't have tuition money - and by then he was ready for 90 level coursework in community college. Around age 20 he was ready to begin as a college or vo-tech freshman. He was eager to learn. I think that was the key. We also had to give him a professional counselor because his self esteem was very low due to feeling like such an outcast amongst his peers.

 

The 12 year old was NOT eager to learn. Not at all. He would have preferred to continue in an educationally feral environment. We never did get very far with him, and after four years the principal turfed him to the PS. At some point, the faculty and staff just couldn't justify the amount of time they were spending trying to remediate a kid who did not want to try. The 8 year old, not having such huge deficits yet to overcome, caught up in no time, enjoyed school, and became an excellent student. A scholarship fund was set up for her so she could stay through 8th grade despite being ready for PS after one year of school with us.

 

The older they are, the wider the deficits, the less likely that they will catch up very quickly if at all. Of course a lot has to do with the parents. In this case, the mom didn't care enough to do a dang thing for the 12 year old. Just like home, it was a sink or swim situation so without any pressure at home to do anything and a natural inclination towards doing nothing, we were beat before we began. It was hard enough for that eager beaver 15 year old because no support at home is a lousy situation, but at least he managed to rise above. I never did hear how the girl did in high school. I wondered if when her older, more mature, wanted to get an education brother left home if with the influence of feral next oldest sibling and do nothing mom if it all fell apart. At least she likely read very well and knew her math basics too by the time she left our care. We were known for doing an excellent educational job. My hope is that the fire for learning was ignited, and even without support in high school, she hopefully kept working on her education.

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